Thursday, April 21, 2016

Brandon's Thirty Seventh Email! April 18th, 2016

Well first of all, something that is kind of funny is how much I have come to love "vos" form. In El Pinar I hated it because I couldn't understand it really and I kind of felt like it was disrespectful for people to say it to me, but here with all the people who I really care about speaking to me in vos it sounds caring to me now haha. Like I especially love commands in vos, because like acordarse in tu is acuèrdate if I'm not mistaken, but in vos it is acordate, with the emphasis in the second a. It doesn't stem change, and it just immediately makes me think of Uruguay now. We aren't supposed to speak in vos so we don't really unless sometimes to children because they think you are talking about somebody else if you speak to them in usted. But it's still fun to like practice in my head anyway.

Anyyyyyway, weather update: things are getting crazy here haha.
It has been raining on and off for the whole last week. Like on and off but when it's on, it's like somebody broke the faucet because it comes down at like 200%. So the river that runs all around my area is like flooding a lot of the lower houses and it's crazy. All the fields on the way to Durazno are soaked or submerged, straight up rivers where before were fields, so confusing haha. So that has been annoying trying to get clothes to dry. We have no covered part outside, so I have been running bailing wire inside the house wherever I can. But it doesn't really work, it just makes our house feel like a rain forest because it's still really humid, so it just makes it hot and humid. When it hasn't been raining, it's been like 100% humidity, so I've just been wet for the past week haha.

We found Salsa!!!!!!!!! Like Mexican salsa actually imported from the U.S. in this supermarket in Durazno!!! So we had the activity there last week, we like pretty much all got super floured with cooking flouring, and played soccer. So after we walked to this place called TATA and got the salsa. We made tortillas that night and made quesadillas and it was sooo good!!!! The salsa!!!! Stoked! Then that night we walked around this one plaza for three hours doing contacts because the people were always changing so we always had people to talk to! We met this really cool girl and later this really cool guy and gave the references to the elders and sister whose area the people lived in.

So Tuesday we had Zone Conference and that was sweet. Elder Ford got me this sick notebook thing we had seen at the supermarket but they were out of them, and Elder Ford got them later when they came back in stock. It's like a fake leather notepad thing but super sick. And after zone conference he helped this family out because their daughter like is a genius but had a breakdown in England so he is translating for them and the doctors over there. Super complicated but it was sick to see him do it! 

The Elder Mora, my zone leader from Mexico, came to Paso de los Toros with me and we had a cool 1 day!!! We met with Tatiana, the daughter of the family whose dad is coming back, and she now has a date to get baptized on the 30th of April. The family is really excited!! The 8 year old daughter will get baptized that day too, so we have been teaching her, but since she is 8 I think that is like the bishop's deal. But it should be such a fun baptism!! We are trying to work with the dad so he can baptize his girls!

We had another CRAZY week for finding people and kind of finding people in funny ways. So this week, we didn't find anyone while it was pouring because EVERYONE is inside making torta fritas (every time it rains, almost everyone does torta fritas, like little things of fried dough), so during the time it didn't rain, we found lots! We had tons of lessons this week with investigators, and some with members too! So on the intercambio with Mora, I felt the strongest impression ever to invite this guy name Juan to be baptized. Totally wasn't planning on it, he said like yes, but didn't want to commit to a date. I don't know why, but I know that I was supposed to ask him at that time. It was maybe the strongest spiritual impression of my life. Elder Mora said after he felt that too and was going to ask him when I stopped talking if I didn't ask him.

So we are kind of continuing with the same investigators from last week, but Walter went to the fields and doesn't know when he will be back. Milton didn't come to church (although it was like an hour away in Durazno), but we also have an investigator named Ramiro who Gehring and I found a while back. We decided to visit him a little more and had a really cool lesson with his mom and him. He is like 19 and super funny and respectful, and I can tell he is like a funny, well-liked kid around Paso. So we invited him and his friends and neighbors to soccer on Thursday and lots showed up!! We had like 16 or 17 people, and it was super fun! So he is really cool, he has to go to Montevideo to get surgery on his wrist because he ate it on his bike and compound fractured that baby. 

We had stake conference this weekend in Durazno! So Saturday we went to the chapel because a bus was going to leave there and Maria Noni (recent convert we baptized) brought her 12 year old son named Valentine, and he wanted to have us teach him and even said he wanted to like join the church so we were like okkkk haha rad. So we get to Durazno and had like 2 hours to wait before the meeting started, so we pulled out a few chairs and had a lesson with Valentine. Right when we started, this man named Miguel came and sat down, and I didn't recognize him at all, but he was on the bus from Paso with us, so I was like cool Miguel, so when did you get baptized? And he was like oh I'm not. And I was like well like how long have you been a member thinking that maybe he had misunderstood and he was like I'm not. So I was like sweet, well we are the missionaries and we teach people about the gospel. He had been invited by our ward mission leader (who we have no contact with), and he just came, even though the ward mission leader didn't. So we taught them about the restoration and it was going well so I asked each one if they would be baptized, and then set the date for May 7th. It was just so crazy. When he sat down, Burgess and I actually were kind of laughing a little thinking how weird it was this guy just came to stake conference an hour away and now he was a new investigator who was super cool and super interested! But they both said yes, so they are both planning on getting baptized that date, given they go to church the next two weeks and aren't being crazy with anything haha.

So that was such a miracle, and they both came the next day on Sunday also! So we had the meeting and after the Stake President's wife was like, "Elders! I brought a friend, and she isn't a member! Right now she is watching my son in the nursery, can you go talk to her?" So we went and she was this totally nice, normal, like 35 or 40 year old lady who gave us her address and then we had to run to catch the bus, but it was such a miracle!!! So crazy!!! SO we just had a crazy week with tons of blessings and it was really fun! So fun! There is like a lot I'm forgetting I think, but it's all good.

I've been reading in Alma in the Book of Mormon in spanish and I'm at the part where Pahoran doesn't get mad at Moroni even though he roasted him when he was misinformed (chapter 61). It made me think of the talk in General Conference where the man with greasy hands didn't get mad when someone made a rude comment to him, he just started washing the dishes by hand to try and clean his hands. I love the examples of humility and love in The Book of Mormon!

Christie, I'm sorry there are so many spelling mistakes! This computer has like a two minute lag from what I am typing to what I can see, so that is why it is so bad!!! (IT WAS SO BAD, haha I probably missed quite a few!)

Top Ten. 

10. I learned how to make pretzels, like the fluffy mall ones! So dank (and cheap)
9. I can make tortillas legit now! I don't like to brag, but they are just like normal good tortillas!!
8. The salsa and quesadillas and also the omelets we have been making in the mornings! (Sorry it's all food so far, I know, not very important)
7. Fun intercambio with Elder Mora, LOVE his Mexican accent, but kind of hard to understand.
6. I am loving contacts now. Just being normal and meeting cool people is fun.
5. The day goals that we have been setting, well this week we actually had two days where we met or beat all of them! So we had a lesson of each type at least once and references and everything. Super fun!
4. Stake conference was really good! I love the Stake President's messages!
3. Got a letter from Jill with the cool disposable camera pics Sheridan had taken! A fun surprise!!!
2. The baptismal dates that we have set and all the investigators progressing!
1. This week was crazy! But so satisfying because I could see a lot of people making an effort to follow Christ, which always will make us happier!
0. It's mom's birthday!!!

Alright that's all this week! I'll send some photos of the flooding and some other stuff. Love you all!! Have a great week! Read The Book of Mormon!!!

 I love english clothing here. Never makes sense... this is like 99% better than the majority, most are much worse

 So the tortillas

And one night I made tortilla chips for our salsa and it was good!!!

 Then one day when lunch bailed we made tacos!! Elder Burgess had taco seasoning, we had cooked black beans earlier in the week, and we had our salsas and I had taco bell packets for us!! 
On homemade tortillas! It was SO GOOD!

 So hot and humid!! My clothes just totally soaked! People probably think we are crazy

 The pretzels

 Pretzel with cinnamon sugar.

 Omelets!!! Cheese, ham, black beans! So good!

 I love the houses in Paso, it's like the Wild West with really tall fronts. I'll find a good example before I leave!

 My pant leg is tucked in because of the bike chain but I forgot for the photo. 

 This really cool dock with the bridge behind us that runs to Durazno! 

 The flooded campgrounds!!

  And the river!
 It is HUGE right now because it has grown so much on each side! This whole park is covered on the other side!

And there is a ton of land in front of this pic totally flooded! 
Probably like 10 feet higher than it should be!!!

 There are more from Burgess' camera! I'm just going to send these few for now!!
This is us at night messing around 

 This is the train tracks that are like inbetween our house and Centro

Also, this is Maria trying to take a photo of us... but she doesn't know how. 
It was with Burgess and Valentine, I was confused she didn't know how I guess

Brandon's Thirty Sixth Email! April 11th, 2016

Hey!!! So just a pretty wacky, funny week.

First of all, it rained like every day but one, maybe, but maybe all the days, I can't remember. The one time I do remember it not raining, it was 100% HUMIDITY! I didn't even realize that was possible. It might as well have been raining because I was soaked from sweat anyway haha. It wasn't even hot really, just like sooo wet. So this week it actually felt cold at night like twice which is sketchy, I am not excited for the cold. I already miss the summer heat.

So early in the week we were able to find lots of new investigators. We got to a lesson, but if they're not home we park our bikes on the curb (using the fun latin pedal thing) and then just clip our helmets to our backpacks and go walk around a block or two and talk to whoever we see. We just leave the bikes unlocked, no one steals anything here apparently. But it was sweet, we found like 6 new people to teach so we will do a lot of follow up this week! 

It was really hard during a lot of the time though because it would just be down pouring and we are literally the only people in sight, not even cars, so we rode a LOT this week from investigator to investigator. My bike pedal is pretty sketch, I kind of fixed it with bailing wire, but I still almost fall like 3 times a day. 

We have been working out really hard in the mornings and then making omelets for breakfast with a little meat and a little cheese. It is so nice, I feel lots better than like eating cereal. Speaking of my comp, he is super sick and we get along great. It's been super fun so far and I'm really excited for the rest of the change! 

On Friday we had zone conference and we sang the spirit of God, my comp played the guitar. So we did it as a district, and we all had to sing parts solo!!! It was like to practice not being scared haha. I had to sing the third verse. I feel bad for everyone in my zone who had to hear that but whatever, really don't care haha.

We have an activity in Durazno today, then we are staying the night there because we have district meetings in the morning and that'd be a waste of money and like 2.5 - 3 hours of travel! Then I'm coming back with Elder Mora for divisions. He is the new zone leader with Elder Ford. He is from Mexico which is pretty rad. His accent is so much different/stronger. I feel like Uruguayos don't have accents really. 

We have an investigator named Milton who is super cool. He is 17 and is just learning about Christ and God for the first time, so that is cool. He came to church yesterday and we will go see him tomorrow I think. Other than that, we are teaching Walter and Tatiana and they are like the three most serious investigators for now.

We got invited into this house to teach and like two of the four guys were so drunk... then we were like alright, we're going to take off, so the two sober guys told the drunk guys to leave so we could have a normal lesson. The drunk guys were like the first time in soooo long I've seen someone drunk. Really sad, and is sooo easy to see why the Word of Wisdom is an inspired commandment.

I really love this church, I love all of the teachings, the commandments that God has given us to protect us, because he loves us. I am so grateful to have been raised in a way that is easy for me to understand. I see it's really hard for people who come from a hard background sometimes to understand that.

Well, that's it for now, and my brain is pretty scattered right now, but I did have a super cool experience this week. I was really tired after planning (9:30pm) and sometimes I like kinda rest before getting ready for bed but I was like no, I want to read the B.O.M. more, so I like sat down and got kind of mentally ready and had probably one of the most powerful scripture studies ever. I just felt so blessed for my small decision to read instead of rest!

Top Ten

10. Terezinha taught us how to make meringue!!!!
9. Sister Sosa made brownies with ice cream for dessert at lunch this week!
8. Reading over general conference notes.. I have really seen things that pop out to me.
7. Letters I received this week got me super pumped to work really hard, thanks Sheridan!
6. The Bike Parade was a pretty unique experience hah, people lined the streets down in the centro
5. Christie's B-day!!!! Such a legit mother/person!!! Thanks for doing the blog thing for my mission!
4. All the new investigators we found this week!
3. Milton came to church!! 
2. The power we can feel from the scriptures!!! 
1. The fact that we have a living prophet! President Monson is a prophet JUST like the prophets who wrote the scriptures, and he can tell us what is most important right now.

Have a great week!!!! 

This picture is my comp and me one morning because we realized we STILL hadn't taken a picture together (it's been raining)

This is stuff Terezinha made for us haha. Cake and Meringue (Egg white and sugar)

And okay, we left a lesson and heard sirens and saw people filming at the corner so we thought something gnarly happened, so we cruised over. It was like tons of people biking and so we were sitting there as they passed, and some guy who had a vest on was like "VAMOS VAMOS VAMOS VAMOS" to us so we looked at each other and like filed in with all the other bikers haha. Then the guy rides up to us and told us it was an anti-drug bike rally thing. So we rode for like 2 miles and pulled up to the plaza with all the elementary school kids and the military band so we kept going straight because we weren't sure what was going to happen, but the end of the pencil points to us haha. You can BARELY see, but it's my white shirt with my tie kind of blowing behind me in the wind. Haha. Funny.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Brandon's Thirty Fifth Email! April 4th, 2016

Todo Lujo??
We've been trying to learn more uruguayo slang, and people here use Lujo kind of like rad, so we've been saying it and it's fun haha. 
We as in Elder Burgess and me! 

So I´ll just try and detail out my week a little. 

So the rest of p-day on Tuesday we just saying bye to people for Gehring.
We got up early on Wednesday to go to Durazno, Gehring would continue on to Montevideo, but I got off and stayed with Elder Ford and Taborda. So we actually needed to wake up at 3:30 am, but didn't wake up to catch that bus, so we took the next one and Gehring just had to buy his ticket all the way to Montevideo instead of taking the mission bus in Durazno... haha, super lame of us...
That day was pretty relaxed, we had the best lunch ever... Then Elder Burgess arrived at like 4:30, we took a bus to Paso de los Toros and got home around 6:30. He unpacked a little, and we visited MamĂ  that night.

Thursday in the afternoon we had a fun day! So Elder Burgess is super cool and loves to work and we are going to do tons of contacts this change and like stopping people outside their house because everyone is nice here! 
So we had a good day with some lessons. We set a baptismal date with this kid named Milton who is 17 years old. We had a good lesson with him. For later in April, I think the 30th.

Friday another good day. We are going to contact people outside their house and just ask straight up if we can sit down right then and talk/teach. It usually is the first time the people have been asked that, cause like no missionaries practically in Uruguay do that cause you kind of get turned down a lot. But it's easier than trying to set an appointment to come back and having someone flake out. We found this new investigator whose daughter committed like the saddest murder-suicide at the Dam just outside of town last year. It was like the horrible news of the town and the country, but the dad is super cool, and super nice. We were talking and when I realized that he was saying he was her dad I couldn't believe it! 

We had another lesson with him Sunday and set a baptismal date with him also for late April. He came to conference Saturday night! 

I'm pretty happy about spanish improving! There is hardly a time during the week now where someone says something and I can't understand them and what they are trying to say. I have been reading the B.O.M. in spanish only and studying in spanish for like 3 months now, and I think that has helped a lot! It's fun! Music I copied over from Elder Gehring has Portuguese hymns and I can understand lots of that too. Fun with all the homies who speak or have spoken port. AKA Sheridan and Joseph, Connor, and Raymundo!!

We also had district meetings Friday, which was cool. Our zone is awesome again so I'm super grateful for that!!! 

We also started teaching this young girl who is the daughter of parents who were inactive but are coming back. Well the mom is active and the dad still is not, but is very supportive. So we´ll see where that goes. 

Elder Burgess likes to cook, he plays guitar, like the hymns and stuff, and has a keyboard also so it's really fun at night after planning he can like play anything. He is from Colona, Canada, in the province of BC or Vancover. Forget which one is the city and the province. 

At conference, we watched it in english, and it was awesome!!!, Francisco and Maria came. Maria came to all 4 sessions which was really cool and impressive. She really liked it, and is feeling more comfortable at church!

So we watched it in our own little computer room because we both speak english, and the conference went sooo fast, I really wanted more. I didn't think I would think so, but it was even better than October´s! Elder Holland´s talk at the end was touching. In the start I was like Oh shoot, oh shoot, what went wrong, what's he going to say. Then he said how much we love you, and I like felt it was so true, really a great feeling. Also I loved some of Uchtdorf´s jokes this time around, and we loved the photo of the guy in the suit in the ocean getting the kid who was surfing! 

Over all, everything here is just awesome! I would not be surprised at all if this is the best transfer of my mission. Great area, great comp, I'm happy and I am learning tons. Life is good. If you want to be happy, go on a mission. And eat omelettes! I've been copying Elder Burgess making salami and mozzarella cheese omelettes in the morning. It's so tasty, but so easy to make, also it makes it like 10 times better. Not every morning obviously, but still. We've also been working out hard which is good. 
We have zone conference on Friday, so that'll be fun! 

Kinda lame, it started pouring right before we left home.

Top Ten.

10. We still have bikes! I still haven't died on them even though I have one janky brake, the handlebars wiggle, and tons of other things, and I have no tools.
9. Our house is super clean and it is so enjoyable! 
8. Salami and cheese omlette
7. Fun changes with Elder Gehring
6. Having fun working out and feeling better!
5. Elder Burgess and I get along great, super fun
4. The investigators/recent converts who came to conference loveddd it!
3. The conference had sooo many great talks, so much to review!
2. Elder Burgess and I are stoked for this change and everything 
1. Our new investigators and people that we have been blessed with to teach! We had a short week but a good amount of lessons!

Hope everyone has a good week. 
I love learning more about Christ. The scriptures, the apostles and prophet, all talk about Him. That's their whole purpose. 

Love you all! 
Elder Richmond 

This super popular soda here called frskyte or something. Kinda like Sprite. Look at the caution label....
It says, "In case of prolonged use, contact your doctor.." Hahaha

Brandon's Thirty Fourth Email! March 29th, 2016

We have transfers this week aka today and Elder Gehring is going to Lomas de Solymar, right next to my last area! Elder Burgess will take his place as DL! He has 4 transfers left in the mission I guess so lots of time! We only found out this morning! They were killing us waiting!!!

So a scripture I really liked this week was Alma 37:44. Because how true is that. This easter is a great time to remember that, AND we get to watch general conference this week! how great is that!!! 

So this week was kind of uneventful most of the days. We had good district meetings on Tuesday, then Ford and Gomez came to do Maria's interview on Friday. I worked with Gomez while Ford did the interview. During the week we had a good amount of things to do in prep for the baptism. We found a few new investigators who will be cool to get to know more this next week!

I ATE IT on my bike in front of Sister Sosa doing a wheelie for a video with Gehring. My pedal snapped in two and I nailed the ground cause I didn't have a foot after it broke. I have the video. Very funny!

We have had a good amount of guiso this week because it rained from like Thursday to Sunday and even last night (my clothes have NOT dried since Wednesday) and the guiso is really good so that is really nice!

I have been very congested and headachy and head cold since like Friday! I think it's getting a little better today. SO annoying though! 

I made Gehring a cake on Thursday and it was good! It actually turned out so I was very happy about that considering I had to make the applesauce for the cake and ground the cloves by hand with a knife haha.

I didn't really plan out much what I was going to say so now I can't really think... hah this always happens.

So, Maria's baptism went great! We were really happy with the way everything turned out. She was great, super happy and everyone that came was really happy with the service itself so that was good, because we like organize and do all of that. Miguel baptized her and then Brother Silva confirmed her with Gerhing and me also. She was really, really happy, and it was overall just a really good experience to start teaching her from zero and finish all the teachings and have her be so happy to be baptized and to see all the happiness that it is bringing her!  So that was cool!

JESSICA is ENGAGEDDDD. So weird haha, congrats!!!! Tomorrow I'm guessing I'm going to work in Durazno with Elder Ford as our comps go to Montevideo for transfers! Then I'll come home at night!

Great week, REALLY happy to be in Paso for another transfer!
We took a lot of funny biking videos so I can make a funny video after the mish.

Top Ten!

10. We have General Conference this weekend! Anyone that doesn't know what that is, look up LDS general conference and watch a little!
9. All of the wonderful members here in Paso de los Toros!
8. Connor's mission call to Brazil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
7. I fell so hard and didn't get hurt! Another miracle, really though, so sketch
6. That dank cake! 
5. Staying in Paso de los Toros!
4. All of my friends on missions! Joseph Camargo, Emi, Soon to be Connor, Holden, and of course Sheridan!!! I'm sorry if I forgot people, emailing is psycho.
3. I finished Jesus the Christ! Such a great book that really helped me learn about Jesus´ life!!!
2. Maria's baptism!!!! Such a blessing how everything worked out!
1. Jessica is engaged!!! Congrats J and Chase!!!!! 

Well that's it for now! Mom, I tried to put the fall video on onedrive. Don't know if it worked! 
Love you all!

Elder Richmond!

P.S. I have tons of photos from this week! Most in my mission, but I probably won't send them all! I got a pen drive and saved all of them super well organized so now they're all backed up!


 The Zone


 This is Eva and her daughter!

 Maria's baptism!!! It all went really well! 

 We are really happy about her. 
Bishop chatted with her Sunday after she got confirmed and asked her what her favorite part 
of the teachings were, and she told him the first vision and he was really impressed 
that she had a pretty good concept of everything.

She was pretty nervous before, but after she was really happy!

This is Francisco in some of his normal clothes! And his like friend/girlfriend sort of Alba, and her son.

And the Family Machado! He is so nice and always gives us bear hugs

 This is at this cool park kind of by our house! It's like on the riverside and has these cool murals! 

 And I pretended to jump into the river... 

And the Artigas statue in the middle of Paso,

 And this is the marriage of the Bruns.
They are the grandparents of Juan from El Pinar,
he was in the military and now is losing his memory really badly,
it's sad, but I use his bike!

 This is Terezinha! Our sweet Brazilian! 
Elder Gehring just said bye to her for the last time and I'm for sure gonna cry when it's my turn...
She is so funny!!!

 This is the view from outside her house! It's next to the river, and it ALWAYS looks so pretty at sunset! I wish I had a newer camera that captured light better! It's something I really love!

 Made a cake for Elder Gehring's birthday! It's the 11th of April but we won't be together!

 Thanks for the recipies momma and for the banner Sher! 

 We only had like a piece each and brought the rest to the Barrios familiy and Sosa family! Sister Sosa liked it and really flattered my cooking haha.

 Us on our bikes, 

 Funny cows in the fields,

 GIANT tree at the house of Claudia, the investigator that is waiting on her papers to get baptized!

 And another of the big tree!

 Another sunset that was really cool!

 Silly pic before the baptism.
 I don't care how I look, I'm on my mission, I can have some slack

 One pic from Maria's baptism

Andddd a funny lunch we made. 
It was eggs, beans, corn, rice, and chicken I boiled then cooked in soy sauce on the skillet! 
It was actually good!